Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fabric: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

One of my favorite web sites, Sew Mama Sew, has asked readers to share about their fabric stash this month. I thought it would be fun to share my storage methods and some photos.

SMS: First of all, what do you usually sew?

Mostly quilts. I have made a couple of bags and a few bibs, as well, but I mostly use the bibs to practice different quilting techniques.

SMS: When you shop for fabric, what size cuts do you usually buy? (i.e. If you see something beautiful, but you don’t have a use for it right away, how much do you buy?)

If it is something I really love, I try to buy at least a yard. However, my quilting budget is very limited, so I tend to buy fat quarters since they are so inexpensive.

SMS: Do you buy on impulse or do you go out looking for something you need?

Both. If I'm in a fabric store, it's likely because I need something. But I cannot remember the last time I bought only what was on my list without looking to be tempted with something new.

SMS: Are you a pre-washer? If you are, do you wash your fabric before you need it, or only when you’re ready to use it?

I do not typically pre-wash. Because most of my favorite quilt patterns use fat quarters, I do not pre-wash because they tend to unravel so much. However, for larger quilts or quilts that mix new and vintage fabrics, I do pre-wash to prevent any uneven shrinkage. In that case, I wash it immediately before I begin the quilt.

SMS: Do you iron it?

I iron everything just before I begin cutting / sewing.

SMS: How do you sort it? (color, print size, collection, etc.)

I sort by yardage - scraps, fat quarters, and larger cuts all stored together.

SMS: Do you have any special folding techniques?

Nope, but I try to be consistent so they all stack together and don't tip over.

SMS: How do you store your fabric?

I have an antique cabinet in my dining room with three shelves and drawer. I've stuck a bunch of baskets in there to try and keep things a little more organized.

SMS: What tips do you have for building up a well-rounded stash?

First, buy things you love. I hate making a quilt when I am not inspired by the fabrics I have in it. Second, know what colors / prints you typically use as "neutrals." For me, sage green tends to always be in my quilts, so I can't go wrong with buying simple prints in that color.

SMS: When do you say enough is enough?

A couple of months ago when i realized I had stacks of fabrics for 14 projects. I realized I need to quit buying and start sewing.

SMS: What are some of your favorite stash-busting projects?

Quilts quilts quilts! Bibs are great for the fabrics I like, but don't see ever becoming part of a quilt.

SMS: What’s your definition of the perfect stash?

Inspiring, organized, and versatile. I like being able to pull a little here and there and have enough to make an project without running to the store. Most of the stores I frequent are at least a 20-minute drive, so it's nice to be organized before I start a project since I usually cannot drop everything and run out for what is missing.

SMS: Do you have a current favorite print in your stash?

Too many to count! I love fabric so much.

And, because I love photos, too... here's a visual of my fabric "stash" and my workspace. I have an antique cabinet where all the goodies live.

On top of the cabinet is typically parts to my current project. These are blocks for the quilt I am working on for Mia. I have 96 of 120 blocks done...

Next to that are my quilting and knitting books and magazines.

On the upper shelf inside the cabinet are three boxes containing supplies and tools.

To the right of that is a spot for next-in-line projects. This is a tulip quilt that I started ages ago. I'd like to get it complete in the near future. It will be a large throw blanket, I think for the edge of our bed.

The middle shelf has baskets organizing fabric for future projects.

Here's some Christmas fabric I fell in love with last year buy didn't have time to complete. I'd like to make either a table runner or a quilt for next Christmas.

And some pretty blue, purple, and green florals...

This big basket has my collection of vintage fabrics. Some are from last year's fabric exchange and some are things I've collected since then. I really want to make a quilt, but I can't decide what pattern to use to highlight the beautiful variations of the fabrics. Hoepfully I'll figure it out soon, because I'm itching to see it come together.

The bottom shelf has my fabric stash that hasn't been "assigned" to a project yet. This is a big basket I use to collect scraps less than 1/4 yard. If you have a quilt I have made, you may see some scraps from it in this basket, just waiting for a new project.

Next to that is a container with assorted fat quarters.

And to the right of that are folds of fabrics that are larger than 1/2 yard.

The bottom drawer contains scraps of batting and fusible fleece, etc. It's very difficult to open and close and sticks badly, so I don't put anything in the drawer that I need very often.

And lastly is my actual workspace. We bought this dining table last year as an anniversary gift to ourselves. I really didn't think that I would claim it as a sewing table, but that is so totally what it has become. And the dark table in the background is my old Singer, very ignored, but still very loved.


MandMStudio said...

Hi I just found your blog today and I'm in love:) I really love your happy quilt.

Jodie said...

Thank you! I loved that quilt, too!

Dana said...

Oh!! Your pink and green bento box will be stunning!!!!

Kristen said...

Hi - Saw your name in Sew Mama Sew and came over here... I'm glad I did! This is random, but I really like your chairs at the dining table! And I think the fabrics for your daughter's quilt are gorgeous, I love the colors.

And a question: When you mention Santa Rosa, is that Santa Rosa, CA? Just curious. :)


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